During the session, the presenter asked how many of us were on Twitter right now. About 6 or 7 hands went up in a crowd of say 50. Including mine.
At the end of the session, questions were asked - and one of the questions went like this:
Isn't it rude and offensive for those people to be on their phones while you are trying to present?
The presenter immediately responded that he was not offended because he had an idea what those people were actually doing.
I happened to be one of those people on Twitter while the presenter delivered his presentation. I was actually engaged in a Twitter conversation with one of the teachers in the room. We were talking back and forth about the same topic the presenter had brought up. I had also been using my phone to take notes during the presentation.
The teacher who implied that we iPhone users were being rude is making a gross misassumption born entirely out of ignorance. That teacher doesn't have a iPhone nor do they Twitter. All that teacher saw was me bent over my phone and typing with my thumbs.
Had I had a pencil and scribbler, would I have been any more or less rude?
Learning is a highly social, emotional, cultural and deeply intrapersonal activity. And so there must be opportunities for learners to socialize. The problem is - traditional classroom teachers provide little to no time for students to interact. Especially if the rule of the day is to sit in your desk, in your row, face forward and listen.
What's rude is the number of people who believe that learning is a passive activity where students need to just be receptacles for their teachers' knowledge - and that students need only reproduce that knowledge in order to show their learning. That's rude.